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Can medical treatment stop people from stealing?

by | Mar 20, 2021 | The Justice System |

Theft is a common crime in Michigan. A lot of people think that individuals steal out of necessity while others engage in such behavior for the thrill or simply out of a desire to acquire something they’d rather not pay for. But for some time now, scientists have dug deeper into the matter to examine other underlying issues that could contribute to theft. They may have just made a breakthrough.

Can medication help treat kleptomania?

Kleptomania is a compulsory condition where the affected individual engages in a behavior pattern that includes recurrent and consistent stealing. For those who have this condition, they find it extremely difficult to resist the urge to steal. This compulsive behavior led researchers to question whether individuals with kleptomania could be treated in a similar fashion as those with substance abuse issues.

Researchers may now have a clear answer to that question. A research team, based out of the University of Minnesota, found that using naltrexone, which blocks certain affects on the brain that experience pleasure during addictive behaviors, reduced the urge to steal amongst individuals with kleptomania. Some researchers say that the reduction was significant, and the side effects are minimal. In other words, this could be a huge progression in treating individuals who have this condition.

Facing legal reality

The law isn’t all that forgiving when it comes to criminal acts, even when the alleged perpetrator of those crimes has a medical condition. That’s those who have been accused of a crime like theft need to consider their defense options. While the court may still see a crime when committed by an individual with a mental health condition, some judges are empathetic and may be more likely to utilize pretrial diversion programs or more lenient sentences in these cases.

That’s why if you or a loved one has been charged with theft, then you might want to speak with an experienced attorney who can adequately advise as to the options available and aggressively advocate on the one that is right for you.